Using Sewing Machines to Help Widows in Tamil Nadu

In 2013 we carried out a project to help widows in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. With the help of the Sri Aurobindo Society we selected 100 widows who were trained for 2 months so they could learn to make garments. After the training was completed each widow was supplied with a sewing machine so they could start making use of their new skills. The project was carried out in conjunction with Aurobindo’s program known as SWARM which stands for ‘Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement’ which is a progressive village community model that is sustainable, replicable and scalable.

The Sri Aurobindo Society have kindly produced a video which provides an insight into the work that was carried out to help widows and also shows their journey of learning to sew and using sewing machines. Also, it’s nice to see the widows laughing and being happy.

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Helping 5,000 Widows in Punjab… Our Project Goes Live!

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I am very pleased to announce that our partnership to help 5,000 widows in the State of Punjab has gone live!  It makes me very happy when a project actually starts and it is also the state where I was born which makes it even more satisfying. It takes a lot of work and patience to get some projects in motion so I’m very grateful to my team in London and India for all their hard work as well the government in Punjab for becoming partners. The involvement of the government in Punjab is a key factor in not only helping widows but creating awareness that we hope other states will follow.Punjab-Widows

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab inaugurates the Loomba Foundation’s partnership project in Ludhiana in Punjab on 22nd August 2014

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Why I Initiated a Debate on Widows at the House of Lords

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I initiated a debate at the House of Lords on Monday 30th June 2014 asking what the UK Government is doing to raise awareness of International Widows Day. These debates known as Questions for Short Debate (QSD) allow members of the House of Lords to ask questions to Her Majesty’s Government. Therefore I used this opportunity to lobby the government to see if they can include widow’s issues in the UN’s post Millennium Development goals.

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It was an interesting debate which ended with Baroness Northover making some closing remarks and these points in particular: [Read more…]

Sewing Machines to Empower Widows in the State of Punjab

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In August 2014 we will be officially launching our partnership with the Punjab Government where we will be helping 5,000 widows. The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has agreed to launch this project in Ludhiana on 22nd August. The Chief Minister has invited 1,000 guests to attend the launch as he wants to inspire other states, organisations and high net-worth individuals to come forward to help widows and their children in India. 

The widows will undergo training for 2 to 3 months and will each receive their own sewing machine so they can make garments. Naturally I was very pleased when we managed to secure this partnership as the widows will earn money, become self sufficient, educate their children and lead a life of dignity. 

Widow with sewing trainer Punjab blog Opt

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International Widows Day in India and London

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International Widows Day was observed in India and in London this year.  I went to both events so I was in India on the 21st June and then flew back to London that night so I could attend the event at the House of Lords on Monday 23rd June. Both occasions were used to make important announcements and I’d like to thank everyone that took the time to support the Loomba Foundation or the cause of widows around the world.

Dehli, India 21st June 2014

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In India there was a dinner at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Dehli and the theme was ‘Justice for Widows – Corporate Social Responsibility’ in light of the recent legislation in India that makes it compulsory for corporates to have CSR programs.  The event was attended by the by former Chief Justice of India and Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), Justice KG Balakrishnan, the British High Commissioner, Sir James David Bevan KCMG and Indian social activist and former India Police Services (IPS) officer, Dr. Kiran Bedi. There were nearly 200 guests in total to include Loomba Foundation Trustees and the Chairperson, Mrs Aruna Oswal. Over £200,000 was raised which was fantastic news as it will all go towards educating children and providing widows with sewing machines. Chris Parsons was also present to launch his Walk for Widows which starts in January 2015. [Read more…]